It started as an adventure. Never thinking it would last this long and shape most of my adult life, I made a decision at the age of 20 that led me, 30 years later, to Matt.
I was working as a Management trainee at a hotel close to London’s Gatwick airport. The hotel frequently accommodated Canadian and American airline crews. One airline (PWA) operated charter flights from Vancouver to London. As it was a fairly small airline, the same crews used to stay in the hotel over and over again. There were a couple of ongoing “romantic" liaisons between some of the hotel staff and airline crew. One of these liaisons was between a Captain and my friend, Joanna. Joanna was a receptionist at the hotel. The Captain lived in Vancouver and he told us stories of how beautiful Vancouver was.
Joanna and I thought it might be fun to try and get jobs in Vancouver and maybe have an adventure away from home, believing all the time that it would only be for a couple of years at most. We ended up getting jobs at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta (because it was the closest place, on the map of job vacancies, to Vancouver!) We both hated it there, snow, deer, snow, bears, snow, no shopping, snow, snow. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it snowed there. A lot. We stayed in Jasper from February 5 until December 22. It snowed every month we were there.
We escaped to Vancouver, found jobs, apartments, friends, boyfriends. Joanna eventually married someone she met at work. They moved to Ontario and raised three beautiful children. I, meanwhile, continued my life in Vancouver. Moved up the corporate ladder, made a very good living and bought myself an apartment in downtown Vancouver.
The years passed and I fell in love (or so I thought) two times. The first time with a divorced Canadian guy. Looking back on that relationship it’s hard for me to fathom why I stayed in it for so long. He was horrible to me. I used to end up every weekend in tears. He cheated on me. Big time.
After that I closed up a bit, never wanting to feel vulnerable or hurt again. I avoided commitment and was quite happy playing the single woman about town. In 1984 (my G-d, I can’t believe that was 22 years ago) I went on a sailing vacation to Greece. And I fell in love, for the second time. Of course it’s so much easier to fall in love when you’re on holiday, especially in Greece. So, if you believe the chances of sustaining a relationship between two people who met on holiday in Greece – one who lived on the west coast of Canada, the other who lived in England -- were remote to naught. Naught would be correct.
So, I continued on with my great job and my friends and casual dating. Resigning myself, I suppose, to never being married or calling someone my husband. The more years that passed, the less I expected to be part of a couple. And I functioned well, I was (still am) fiercely independent, strong and financially on solid ground.
In January 2003 all that changed. My well paying, secure job was no longer considered necessary. I was notified in January that year that my job would terminate at the end of that month.
But January 2003 was significant to me in a much more special way. The 25th day of that month was the day I met Matt. I was 50 years old (Matt was 46) and the last thing I expected in my life was a future husband!
On February 11th, 2006, Matt and I became husband and wife. I look at him sometimes and wonder how I could have thought I was ever in love with those other two guys. Matt was meant to be my husband because he loves me in a way that transcends my whole understanding of what love was before I met him. He makes me feel safe. I am never vulnerable when I am with him. He reveres me and adores me. He thinks I am beautiful. And he tells me, all the time, how beautiful I am to him and how much he loves me.
I thank G-d for Matthew. And I love him, with all my heart.
Nice restaurant. Married couple. Twenty-first anniversary. What kind of romantic evening do they have planned?
Sitting at the table signing their divorce papers.
It wasn’t working. Each could point fingers at the other, but why bother. I knew it was not good for me. That’s putting it mildly – it was not healthy for me. It was early September, but I had moved out over a month before. While it would take another two months for the divorce to become final, the marriage was over.
The next year, 2001, was a real joy. I was laid off from my job. 9/11. In February 2002, the job front picked up. On the romance front, things were going slowly – dodging bullets, stillborn relationships, the usual situation for someone recently divorced. Finally, I got it through my thick skull that it ain’t gonna come if you’re actively looking for it.
After 9/11, I started looking for new sources on information. Something just did not seem right with what I was getting from the news outlets in the Peoples Republic of Seattlestan. In the process, I found LGF in about October 2002. I would read it fairly regularly. Then in January 2003, there was the famous “Peaches and Cream" thread
where I met Fay. We tossed some comments back and forth, and we found that we lived only about 150 miles from each other.
We started exchanging emails. Fay gave me her phone number. We were both a little nervous during the first call. Fay was soft-spoken, and spoke with her English accent. I was trying to be upbeat. I felt like I sounded lahk a gude ol’ boy frum dahn sath sumwahr. Fay told me later that she was surprised that I “sounded so much like a Yankee."
One call turned into several. We finally decided to meet – I traveled to Vancouver on January 25. When the taxi arrived in front of Fay’s building, she came out to meet me. When I saw her, I said “Wow." It was an awkward weekend, as we both were trying to get to know each other. We went over to Granville Island. A bird did a Katie Couric
on my hat. Fay got soaked in the rain – those “Dammit" moments that add charm in hindsight.
I guess I managed to get through the weekend without making a fool of myself, so I was invited back.
Over the next few months, Fay didn’t seem to be too sure about whether we could have a lasting relationship. For me earlier relationships just seemed to happen, there didn’t seem to be any growth involved – and that was probably why those relationships did not work. This time, it seemed that I actually had to win Fay’s heart – and I wanted to win her heart.
About a month after we met, a surprise dinner was being given in my Father’s honor in California. I asked Fay if she would like to come with me and she said “yes". Fay and my Father hit it off right away. Later in the evening, a woman friend of my Father came up to Fay and said, “You’re Larry’s next daughter-in-law."
The relationship grew -- and somewhere along the line, we fell in love. We decided to get married. We had details to work out. We still have details to work out – living in different countries does complicate things.
Maybe neither one of us was ready before this. Fay is everything I need her to be. She is a blessing, she is a gift. I love her with all my being.
And when I first saw her as she came around the corner during the wedding ceremony, I said “Wow."
The Bride, trying not to cry
We had planned to get married sometime over the summer. In order to find out what we needed to do for Matt to move to Vancouver, we saw an immigration lawyer. He told us to get married sooner, rather than later. “Make it big. Have lots of pictures. Invite friends and family. Don’t run off to Las Vegas." We needed to have evidence that this was a bona-fide relationship – not a scheme to get someone into the country.
I Do, er, I Will!
At his job, Matt is fairly low in seniority. Where he works, everyone pick his or her vacation in September. When Matt’s turn came, all he could chose from was six weeks in January and February. Matt picked one week in January, and one in February. We settled on the Saturday of the week in February for our wedding date.
Our friends, S & H, offered their home as the site of our wedding. We started going together about the same time as S & H. They got married two years ago – H told Matt that they would have been happy to make it a double ceremony – but we had things to iron out at the time.
We made the plans for the wedding, and got the things that we needed.
Matt, who lives in Seattle, bought his suit in Vancouver. Fay, who lives in Vancouver, bought her dress in Seattle. The dress had to be left at the store for spot cleaning and pressing, so Matt picked it up before driving up to Vancouver one weekend. Fay was terrified that the dress would be confiscated at the border. “Be sure you declare it." Matt even brought extra cash up to pay any duties that might be levied.
Proud Papa-in-law and Fay
At the border, the agent asked “Are you bringing anything into the country?"
“Yes, my Fiancée’s wedding dress." Matt was expecting to be told to pull up to the customs building. Instead, the agent just said, “OK." Matt just sat there for a second, then the agent gave him a “That’s all, you can go now" look. That was fine by us!
All of Fay’s relatives live in England. Only Fay’s nephew -- the proud papa of Sweet Baby James -- and Fay’s best friend from school -- who is now married to one of Fay’s cousins, were able to come over for the wedding.
Matt’s parents live in California. It is troublesome for them to fly, so Matt’s Father decided he was going to drive up. Matt’s brother, who lives in eastern Washington, did not think that was a good idea – so he drove down to California and brought his parents up to the wedding. Matt’s son came up from Seattle with his girlfriend.
We got to the wedding site early, because we needed to tend to the last minute details of decorating and setting the tables, picking up the wedding flowers etc. Also, Fay was going to have her hair and her make-up done. The reason so much time is spent on the bride and not the groom is the human need to try and improve on perfection – whereas the groom is considered a lost cause.
Since Fay was already occupied, Matt was given the task of meeting and greeting the guests and the Wedding Commissioner, Heather. Heather was on a tight schedule – she had to leave right away for another wedding. Heather had sent us several e-mails, telling us to be sure we had the parental information filled out on the license (she could not perform the ceremony if it wasn’t), and that we had to be on time. Matt knew where everything was – and we were able to get the ceremony started about four minutes early.
Unfortunately, Matt’s mother was too tired to stay for the dinner – which meant that Matt’s Father and Brother also had to leave. Matt’s brother, who was the Best Man, did not get to give the toast. Fay’s nephew stepped up admirably to the task.
We got our first dance, and another dance later on for good measure.
We had a wonderful time. It was an evening that we did not want to end, but we were also tired and anxious to get on with our lives together.
There were many people who couldn’t make it, and that was sad. But we did have a great time with the people who managed to get there, including the DL contingent of floranista, Mr. floranista and Thousand Sons. Thousand Sons probably had the most “traumatic�? journey to the wedding as he so wonderfully described here.
Florrie & Thousand Sons
We thank all of our friends on Bloggie for your good wishes, and being a large part of our very special day. We hope you enjoy the photographs.